July 14, 2017 (New York) – On the anniversary of the failed military coup in Turkey, the Alliance for Shared Values (AFSV) calls on the Turkish government to halt its brutal crackdown on political opposition and to retract its false and unfounded accusations that Fethullah Gulen orchestrated the putsch attempt.
A full year has passed since the July 15 incident, and Turkish authorities have failed to produce any credible evidence linking Mr. Gulen to the attempt. Yet instead of investigating the truth, holding the real perpetrators responsible and bringing greater safety and security to Turkey, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used Mr. Gulen as a scapegoat, offering fabricated, politically motivated charges that smear his reputation and everything the Hizmet movement stands for – peace, interfaith dialogue, tolerance and education. Mr. Gulen has repeatedly and vociferously denied any involvement in the July 15 tragedy.
In Turkey, President Erdogan continues to brutalize his own people through purges, mass arrests and a wide-ranging crackdown on free speech and freedom of the press. He has drawn condemnation from world leaders and human rights activists across the globe for – in the past year alone – seizing nearly 1,000 companies and $11 billion worth of private assets, arresting more than 55,400 people and shutting down 149 media outlets. Some 150,000 state employees have been dismissed and more than 260 journalists are currently imprisoned, making Turkey the world’s leading jailer of journalists.
The government made it clear that the arrests have nothing to do with involvement in the July 15 attempt, but instead are conducting on the basis of guilt by association with the Hizmet movement. Women and children are the hardest hit among the victims, as the authorities do not refrain from arresting pregnant women and bringing them back to the prison after they give birth. Some 16,000 women and more than 500 children are jailed. Physical abuse, torture and rape in Turkish prisons have been reported and condemned by independent watchdogs such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture.
We call on President Erdogan to end the state of emergency and his crackdown so that Turkey may begin to heal and turn away from its autocratic path and a future that endangers human rights and fundamental freedoms.
About Alliance for Shared Values
The Alliance for Shared Values (AFSV) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves as a voice for cultural organizations affiliated with Hizmet, a civil society movement inspired by prominent preacher and peace advocate Fethullah Gülen. The Alliance strives to promote peace and social harmony by helping reduce misinformation and false stereotypes about any or all ethnic, cultural and religious communities. To learn more about the Alliance, please visit www.afsv.org.
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